Worried about monkeypox? Here's how the vaccine will be rolled out in Florida
The Florida Department of Health has finalized a plan for the targeted release of the state's limited monkeypox vaccine supply.
The federal government has doled out the vaccine to requesting states according to their need. By mid-July, Florida had received about 25,000 doses that were distributed through county health departments.
During the first two phases of the vaccination rollout, county health departments will be coordinating distribution with local health care providers. That means Ryan White clinics, clinics for sexually transmitted infections and other health providers who serve HIV-diagnosed men who have sex with men, referred to in the health plan as MSM.
The third phase will expand distribution to community providers who deal with MSM and other high-risk groups, not just those diagnosed with HIV.
Monkeypox is generally not fatal, but some researchers worry that it could mutate and become a greater threat to humans. It causes fever, headaches, muscle aches and a lack of energy. A rash can be present, resembling pimple and pull-filled blisters that can develop all over the body.
The global monkeypox outbreak has mostly affected MSM, but it can be transmitted to anyone through close and prolonged physical contact, health officials advise.
The Florida Department of Health had recorded 346 monkeypox cases in Florida as of Wednesday, though only four had been detected in Northeast Florida, all in Duval County.
Here's the plan for the vaccine:
- Laboratory and select health care personnel at high risk for exposure.
- Close contacts of monkeypox cases.
- HIV-diagnosed MSM who have a CD4 lymphocyte count under 200 and had a potential exposure to monkeypox.
- MSM who have a recent history of an sexually transmitted infection.
- All HIV-diagnosed MSM with potential exposure, regardless of CD4 count.
- All MSM.
- Other high-risk groups.
The phases are additive, meaning the pool of eligible groups does not change, it only expands.
According to the CDC, receiving the monkeypox vaccine within four days of exposure can prevent the onset of the disease. Receiving the vaccine between 4 and 14 days after exposure may not prevent the disease but can significantly reduce symptoms.
County health departments will also provide training to health care providers on how to use tecovirimat, also called TPOXX, an antiviral treatment that has been approved for monkeypox cases at risk for complications or severe outcomes.
Information from National Public Radio was used in this report.
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